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Just over a week after returning to classrooms, Bloomington Public Schools is back to distance learning

Younger students had been back in their classrooms for just over a week.

Students in early childhood learning through 2nd grade have been forced back to distance learning just over a week after returning to in-person instruction. 

Superintendent Les Fujitake announced Thursday that all in-person learning has been paused for the next two weeks due to an outbreak of COVID-19 that is affecting the district's transportation. 

"We are extremely disappointed to announce that all early childhood, preschool and elementary school classes are moving to distance learning effective immediately for the next two weeks," Fujitake wrote in an update to families.  

Early childhood through 2nd grade students were welcomed back to in-person learning on Tuesday, Jan. 19. The district had planned on bringing grades 3-5 back for in-person instruction on Monday, Feb. 1, but that plan is now delayed until the transportation outbreak is no longer an issue. 

"A significant level of COVID-19 is occurring in our transportation department impacting our ability to serve students and families," said Fujitake. 

The outbreak comes while Minnesota, as a whole, has seen its lowest COVID numbers since mid-September, though experts continue to warn that there is a significant level of community transmission and the threat for further increases if new strains of the virus, namely the B.1.1.7 variant that has been confirmed in the state, becomes dominant in the coming weeks.

The outbreak affecting the transportation department means students of all grades will have to figure out means of transportation for all extracurricular activities, including high school athletics. 

"Coaches and advisors will provide guidance on transportation to upcoming away games or competitions," said Fujitake. 

Bloomington Public Schools will continue to provide childcare services during the two-week pause. More info on that right here. 

"We want nothing more than for our students and staff to be in schools learning safely. We understand this is yet another disruption for our families in an already demanding year," Fujitake concluded. 

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